Greens Initiated Senate Inquiry: Hold Reef Port Development (Australia)

Hold Reef Port Development

A Senate inquiry into the Greens’ bill to save the Great Barrier Reef today recommended no new ports in pristine areas of the reef until a strategic assessment of the reef is completed, but the recommendation comes too late to be acted upon in this Parliament.

“Through this Greens initiated inquiry, we’ve finally seen some government reaction to the UN’s warning that the reef could be listed as a World Heritage site in danger but it’s too little, too late,” said Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson.

The World Heritage Committee, which meets next week to decide the Great Barrier Reef’s fate, is telling us we shouldn’t have any new ports in pristine areas at all.

“Rather than permanently protecting these pristine areas, the Senate committee has only recommended a two year pause on new ports, until a strategic assessment on the Great Barrier Reef is completed in 2015.

“While this is the strongest statement from government to date on the reef, they know they have run out of time to legislate such a pause, so this is a hollow recommendation.

“While stating they supported the intent of the bill, the Senate committee recommendations ignore the other parts of the bill which the World Heritage Committee said were necessary to avoid a World Heritage In Danger listing for the reef – pausing all development until 2015, stopping damaging port expansions and ensuring all reef development has a net benefit.

“The Greens are the only party standing up to the big mining companies to protect the Great Barrier Reef from a World Heritage in Danger listing,” Senator Waters said.

The Senate inquiry report

[mappress]

Press Release, June 13, 2013

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